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State’s Child Victims Act extended through next year

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New York’s Child Victims Act received an extension through next year as Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Aug. 3 signed legislation that extends the statute of limitations in decades-old sexual abuse cases. It allows victims to get their days in court, confront their predators, while seeking healing and resolution.

Victims now can file claims through Aug. 14, 2021 since the law gets a full-year extension. Previously, due to COVID-19 disruptions, Gov. Cuomo in May issued an executive order that extended the Child Victims Act window through Jan. 14, 2021. So far, more than 3,000 survivors of sexual abuse have come forward in their efforts to seek justice against abusers.

Key points of the law

Victims and victim proponents have been fighting for more than a decade to get the law passed. In February 2019, Gov. Cuomo signed the Child Victims Act. Under the law, sexual abuse survivors have until the age of 55 to file civil lawsuits against their assailants. In addition, the legislation allows the victims to pursue criminal prosecution against assailants until reaching the age of 28. The prior age limit was 23.

Here are the key points of the Child Victims Act:

  • It increases the amount of time of criminal accountability of abusers.
  • It allows victims to pursue civil lawsuits before they become 55 years old.
  • Survivors gain new opportunities to file civil actions against public and private institutions with that time now extended two years after initially having a one-year window.
  • It removes the requirement of filing a notice of claim for sexual offenses committed against minors.
  • It implements the requirement of judicial training for judges in cases related to sexual abuse of minors.

Sexual abuse victims get another chance to stand up for themselves. The Child Victims Act is the legal ally that they have sought and finally gained after all these years.

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